Realistic Fiction Participation Task

Okay I am stepping way out of my comfort zone and aiming to do a reading and extension assignment for a 5th grade class. Here goes…….

Grade Level: 5th grade   

Name of Book: Frindle written by Andrew Clements

Plot: Nick is a 5th grade student who is bored in his English class. He has a teacher that he doesn’t like. One day he decides to ask questions about how objects got their names. That night he comes up with a new name for a pen. He calls it a Frindle. He tells his friends about it and soon everyone in the school is using the word Frindle. His English teacher is not happy about this and makes everyone who says the word stay after school. But that doesn’t stop this name from growing. Soon it becomes nationwide and someone even bought the rights to use this name for their advertisement. Years later when Nick is grown he receives a letter from his English teacher telling him that she intentionally reacted negatively to the name in order to make it more popular. Nick sends her a pen and a note telling her she can call her pen anything she would like.

Activity: I would explain that we are going to read a very exciting book. I would read the first chapter out loud in class and talk about it with the children. I would ask them some Bloom’s Taxonomy questions to get them to think about the story. For example:

  • Why do you think the teacher was upset?
  • Do you think that Nick liked English class?
  • What would you do if you were bored in class?
  • Have you ever wondered the meaning behind why people name things the names they have?

After we discuss the first chapter, they would go home and read chapter 2 by themselves. The next day they would tell the class what happened in chapter 2 and we would discuss it. We would continue to do this read a chapter at school and read the next one at home until the book is finished. Afterwards we would talk about the story and if they think it could ever happen. Why or why not? Then I would ask each child to think of an item and bring it to school the next day and give it a new name. Each child will show their item and tell the name they gave it. . 

Frindle                  Frindle2



Realistic Fiction Writing Task

For this task we had to read the articles Shut My Mouth Wide Open: Realistic Fiction and Social Action written by Cynthia A. Tyson and Depictions and Gaps: Portrayal of U.S. Poverty in Realistic Fiction Children’s Picture Books written by Jane E. Kelley and Janine J. Darragh. After reading the articles we were asked to answer the questions the team had designed. 

1. According to the article Shut My Mouth Wide Open: Realistic Fiction and Social Action written by Cynthia A. Tyson, does she feel that fairy tales should be taught throughout the curriculum? Why or why not?

Cynthia Tyson does not feel that fairy tales should be taught throughout the curriculum. She feels it is more important to for the students to be interested in what they are reading so they will be involved in their own learning experience.  Tyson states:

This suggested to me a need for more con temporary themes in reading material for some readers. It moved me to explore the pedagogical implications of the selection of children’s literature, as well as how that literature and literary response (Rosenblatt, 1978) may be used as an instructional tool to increase literacy success and initiate social action

Had she stayed with teaching the fairy tales, the boys in the class would be have been bored throughout the lesson and would not have gained anything from it. They were unable to relate to the story. Instead she found books that were prevalent to their socioeconomic environment. This sparked their interest. Soon they began to form a close bonded group and began understanding, commenting and dissecting the reading material. It sparked great conversations and eventually led to them becoming involved in their community. They were not made to this b their teacher. It was something they did on their own and since they did it on their own, they were more involved to see it through.

You can read this article here

2. In the article Depictions and Gaps: Portrayal of U.S. Poverty in Realistic Fiction Children’s Picture Books, why is it that some areas in the books reflect the reality in the United States, but areas such as poverty are mispresented? Provide examples and support your thoughts. I think in years past there were a lot of judgments being placed on people based on their culture and ethnic background. The “white” culture viewed themselves as superior and all other nationalities, races and ethnic cultures were viewed as substandard. While I still believe some of that goes on today, I feel that people are more conscious of it and that we are moving away from that (positive thoughts) notion. As the authors state in the article, “…poverty and homelessness are at the forefront of many people’s minds as it is nearly impossible not to be personally affected or to know someone affected by monetary hardships.”  People of all races, creeds and nationalities have been affected by economic hardship. I know of white families who are working hard but still live in dire financial situations. Finances or lack thereof affect everyone.

You can read this article for yourself here




Biography Participation

Here are some pictures that tell more about me

20160206_094127     9882_10200610604814166_731172315_n    us    046.JPG

0206160906_resized   collegevisits      preschool teacher


Here is my collage that tells about me. I am blessed and honored to have an incredible son. As you look at this pictures of him, you see a 20 something guy, but to me, I still see a little boy who captured my heart. He is the light of my life and I am so proud of him. 

I have incredible friends. We all met in our teens and have been good friends ever since. We have been in each other’s weddings and through the birth of our children. 

I am going back to college to further my degree. I can’t say it’s been easy but I know it will be worth it. I am also a prek teacher. I love the children in my class and love what I do. While I can’t say I pop out of bed every morning to go to work, once I get there it’s a great day!



Biography Task-Civil War Story

Dear Diary,

Today is the day!!! I have been looking forward to today for a long time. I’m going home today! The war is over. I was never happier to hear such words. It’s been a long, tired and trying time. At times I wasn’t sure I would make it through. I’ve seen more than any man should. Brothers fighting brothers, families pit against each other, so much blood and all the deaths-more than I can count. I’ve been lucky and God has watched over me. I’m going home!

I wonder how Anna is doing. The girls are older now. I forget how old they are. Is it 5 and 7? I wonder if they will remember me. It’s hard to believe I’ve been here almost three years. Three years! I missed three years with them. Anna said she tells them stories about me and when I was there. I miss them and oh how I miss Anna. It will be good to be home again. I can remember the smells from the kitchen when she cooked.  Mmmm good meals and good times. I wonder how they are getting along. Her last letter said her mama was moving in to help out and she would be good company for her. It will be so good to see her again. It will be good to sleep in a bed again, to hold my girls again.

Three years. Wow! I remember the day I was sent off. Anna was crying and the girls were hugging her legs. They had no clue what was going on. I never did think I would be here this long. I can’t believe all that fighting we did to get one united country and then we are fighting among ourselves. We fought for freedom from the British and now we have to fight all over again to maintain freedom in our own country. Olé President Lincoln tried to keep us united, but those southerners had their own ideas. They was proud and thought they could do what they want. Wanting to keep people as slaves! They defied the president! Thought they knew better I guess, but we showed them.

I remember the first time we was in combat in Winchester Virginia. That was a bloody battle. And the thing is that we would get up close to those southerners, even look them in the eye before killing them. That day was the first time I killed a man. He came at me and I pointed my gun at him. I looked at him and hesitated firing my gun.  His eyes were full of anger, and I pointed my gun at him hoping he would take off running. He kept coming so I shot him dead.  I watched as he felt to the ground. I just stood there over him shocked that I had actually killed him. I thought I was going to throw up right there and then, but then I saw someone coming at me and I had to move. The guns and cannons were so loud. It was like the 4th of July all day and so loud. The smell of death and gun powder was enough to make you sick. I never did imagine I would ever kill a man and God help me that I did kill so many.  I didn’t sleep at all that night. I wondered about that man. Did he have a family? Were there little ones waiting at home for their Daddy to get back? God forgive me.  

I still have nightmares about all the deaths I have seen. The friends I lost in this war that would never again go home to their family. I feel so tired and so worn. I am glad to leave all this behind. Will we ever recover as a country? Will we have to fight this war again between ourselves? Did I do this in vain?

God, I am glad to go home to my family. I can’t wait to get away from here and go back home. I long for the peaceful nights and sound of crickets outside our bedroom window.  I’m going home.

Annotations on Biography

Here  is the link to my annotations on the article Reading in the Content Areas: Fictionalized Biographies and Diaries for Social Studies written by Dee Storey. Storey explains that fictionalized biographies take the facts and mix them with emotion, feelings and decisions the character may have experienced. A part in the article talks about first person narrative and how things are only seen from that character’s perspective. This is a great teaching tool for students because many times they read about the facts but don’t have an understanding for how that person felt. 

My Fantasy World

3D sign of no burglar allowed - isolated over a white background     chocolate-05     house  no sickness       food tree

Business people-showing teamwork   No_Money_Down   sunny day    flying people people helping       honesty

                                             My World 

In my fantasy world it would be

  • crime free-no fear of a crime of any kind
  • chocolate would magically have no calories and it would be good for you
  • you could pick any house you wanted to live in and it would be free. Everyone gets to choose one house-free of payment.. Plus the house would be self cleaning!
  • no sickness
  • food would grow on trees. You would just have to go out and pick what you wanted to eat off the tree
  • it would be a world of joy and laughter
  • money is not required in this world. We live in peace and harmony without greed, selfishness or envy. 
  • everyday is beautiful. There’s no such thing as humidity. 
  • the ability to fly. If we wanted to go someplace, we just fly there. 
  • People work together and get along. There is no racism, sexism, or hatred. We all help one another. 
  • a world of truth-no lies or deception

   This would be my fantasy world. 



Fantasy Task

The tasks for this module were 2 questions about fantasy books.

  1. Do you think that fantasy and science fiction books, like Harry Potter, The Hunger Games and the hundreds of age appropriate books and series, should be a part of standard curriculum or read as optional pleasure/summer reading books?                 Yes, I think fantasy and science fiction books should be incorporated into standard curriculum. Young adults/adolescents enjoy these types of books and it gets them to read! The purpose is to get them reading, analyzing different parts of a story and providing  feedback. When a student buys into something, they care about what they’re doing. So many teenagers today don’t read or don’t like reading. So knowing that, teachers can provide reading material that they can relate with and enjoy reading.
  2. Would you assign and teach fantasy and sci-fi books in your middle school/ high school classroom? If yes, explain why and which book(s) would you assign and to what grade? If no, explain why and what type of books would you focus on instead?Yes, I would assign fantasy and science fiction books in my class. Again, going back to what I said earlier, for me the purpose is to get the students to read and be able to dissect different parts of a story. If they enjoy the story and get into it, dissecting the story is easier because they understand the book and can relate to the story. I had to google some young fiction books to answer the second question. So here goes…

         Young Adult Books

  • Before you Leap written by Les Lyman                                                                                             Synopsis of story from Amazon: Two teens from two centuries apart, one the direct descendant of the other. Einstein’s Theory didn’t cover THIS relativity. Sean Kelly considered himself an average 16-year-old, living in an average neighborhood in a small University town. Nothing too exciting ever happened in Grover’s Corners, Missouri; some might even label it boring. His ordinary life was disrupted when a distant relative dropped by at the beginning of his Junior year in high-school. A distant relative from the 23rd Century. Two 16-year-olds in a time machine. What could possibly go wrong?                                                                                                                       I would assign this book to middle school students. I think they would enjoy the science fiction part of the story. They would also be able to relate to it on a personal level with their own family and family heritage. You can even do a writing assignment with this and ask them to choose someone in their family they would like to meet if they could go back in time or go into the future. 
  • Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix                                                                    Synopsis of story from Amazon: In a future where the Population Police enforce the law limiting a family to only two children, Luke, an illegal third child, has lived all his twelve years in isolation and fear on his family’s farm in this start to the Shadow Children series from Margaret Peterson Haddix. Luke has never been to school. He’s never had a birthday party, or gone to a friend’s house for an overnight. In fact, Luke has never had a friend. Luke is one of the shadow children, a third child forbidden by the Population Police. He’s lived his entire life in hiding, and now, with a new housing development replacing the woods next to his family’s farm, he is no longer even allowed to go outside.                                                                                                                 I would assign this book to middle school students. They could relate to the different things that Luke has never experienced  (birthdays, playing outside, etc…) as well as being a part of the family. What would they do if they were the third child? Would they be safe and stay hidden or find out what’s out there and live their life? 

Middle school students would be able to relate to these books and enjoy the science fiction part of them. As a teacher, I want children of all ages to enjoy reading. Part of that is to choose books they will enjoy to read. Who knows maybe more children will find they enjoy reading when they find a book they enjoy. Some children/students only read what is required by the school and what a joy it would be if they found they enjoyed reading and started reading for pleasure!!! 




Annotations on Fantasy

I enjoyed reading both articles, Finding Fantasy written by Robin Fuxa and Fairy Tale Characters Breathe New Life written by Rita Soltan. I choose to annotate the article Fairy Tale Characters Breathe New Life. I really enjoyed how she talked about comparing the flat fairy tales that we learned as a child to a deeper fairy tale that an adolescent would enjoy. She writes, 

The traditional flat fairy tale protagonist challenged with a problem usually prevails through some sort of magical intervention, whereas the round, well-developed character in a novel displays a level of growth or understanding through the actions, consequences, and progress of the story. These fairy tale-based novels portray dynamic characters whose relationships, thoughts, feelings, endeavors,and behaviors provide the reader a certain amount of intrigue and realism in an unreal world.
I think by giving the characters feelings, thoughts and relationships it adds a whole new dynamic to the fairy tale. It provides discussion for deeper conversations and is not as black and white as the traditional ones we learned as a child. The traditional ones have their place for younger children who need that concrete right and wrong story, but older ones would benefit from more diverse characters.
Here are my  Annotations

Links for articles:

Fairy Tale Characters Breathe New Life 
Finding Fantasy

Constellations-A Myth from the Skies

For our section on mythology, I created a lesson plan for a Kindergarten class. I actually did most of this with my prek-class They really enjoyed it! So here it goes….

Myths Lesson Plan

Common Core Standards

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.R1K1-With prompting and support ask and answer questions about key details in a text.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy. SLK.3 Ask and answer questions in order to seek help, get information, or clarify something that is not understood.


Students will be able to describe the meaning of the word constellation. Students will be able to name 3 constellations of the constellations that we have learned.


Teacher will ask prodding questions to start lesson. Have you ever looked out at night at the stars? Have you ever wondered about the stars? Why do you think we have stars?

Mini Lesson:

  • Read the book- Zoo in the Sky by Jacqueline Mitton
  • Talk about the word constellations-what does it mean? Have children repeat the word and talk about what it means.
  • Discuss the constellations in the book and talk about the myths surrounding the constellations

Questions to ask children

  1. What were some of the animal constellations you saw in the book?
  2. What was your favorite constellation?
  3. Why was it your favorite?
  4. Why do you think they made up stories about the stars in the sky?
  5. Do you think these stories are true?


After talking about the story, the children will participate in an activity. The teacher will say the name of the constellation and type of animal and the children will act in the way that animal acts. For example Leo the lion-the children will growl. Teacher will have two different activities that the children can choose from to make their own constellation. These activities will be in small groups.

  1. Mini-Marshmallows-Using mini marshmallows and toothpicks, the children will make their own constellation.
  1. Paper constellation-Using black construction paper, white colored pencils and star stickers the children will draw their own constellation onto black paper. After they make the constellation, they will add stars to their picture.  

Return to Circle-large group activity

  1. The children will show the constellation they made, what they named it and the story behind their constellation.
  2. We will review the story, the term constellation and the different constellations we learned about.


  • Teacher will ask children what was the big word we learned about today? What is a constellation?
  • Name 2 constellations we learned about today.